Prototyping vs Modeling
Home Tech Prototyping vs Modeling: What’s The Key Difference?

Prototyping vs Modeling: What’s The Key Difference?

by Eric

The terms “prototype” and “model” are confusing terms in the world of design and development. This blog post will discuss the differences between these two design approaches and choose which one is best for your project.

There will be information about prototyping vs. modeling and a comparison between both methods.


Prototyping is an iterative process where a rough simulation of what the final design should look like is produced.

This can be anything from a technical drawing to a full-scale functional model. The purpose of prototyping is to gain confidence that the design has been captured correctly before moving onto later stages in developing the product.

Prototyping software allows you to examine different possible designs and test them quickly before deciding which one would be best to develop into a functional product.


Modeling is a non-iterative process where the final design for the product is produced. Modeling strives to accurately represent what the product will be as close to 100% as possible within its given constraints.

With modeling being such an accurate representation of the actual product, it allows you to see how the result will look without building it.

Key Differences between Prototyping and Modeling:

Accuracy and Credibility

The key difference between these two design methods is that the product is designed to be as close to final as possible with modeling.

This means that you are designing the product to be 100% functional when completed. However, with prototyping, the design is not intended to be a complete representation of what the actual product will end up looking like.

Prototyping strives for credibility more than functionality and makes it easier for you to change designs without redesigning your model completely.

Modeling Is a Non-Iterative Process While Prototyping Is Iterative in Nature

With modeling, you start with a blueprint and then begin construction on the actual model right away. Modeling requires a lot of time to produce since it strives to be as close to the final product as possible.

On the other hand, prototyping is iterative. This means that you are constantly changing models and updating them to reflect the changes that you are making to your original design plan.


In modeling, parts of the design will go through revisions. With prototyping, sometimes revisions are also made but not as often as modeling would require.

Since prototyping software does not aim for the same level of detail as modeling software, the product will be less likely to be changed in later stages of development.


Modeling gives you more freedom with design and materials, but realistically it’s not attainable in some cases due to limitations of your material or availability of the parts.

Prototyping is better suited for these types of projects because it requires fewer materials to build the product.


When comparing both design methods, it’s apparent that with prototyping, the possibility of changing the design is much higher. This allows you to make changes with more confidence on what the final product will look like.

Modeling is a great way to get an idea of how a product will look and feel before committing the time and money to build it. However, there are cases where this can be too much of a commitment in time and materials.

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